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Empowering stoma patients and nurses during the pandemic and beyond

09 November 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 20


Zarah Perry-Woodford, Consultant Nurse, Stoma and Internal Pouch Care Department, St Mark's Hospital, London (, winner of the Gold Award in the Nurse of the Year category in the BJN Awards 2023

With over 20 years' experience working in a tertiary colorectal centre of excellence I remain passionate about my job and strive to provide the best care – not only for my patients but also for my team of nursing and other health professionals. The wellbeing of my staff has always been my priority, as without a robust team, it is impossible to deliver the care expected at a specialist institution. I believe the judges in the BJN Awards 2023 recognised my nursing and leadership skills, especially during the pandemic, when I helped to ensure that patients requiring emergency stoma-forming surgery or planned operations for bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, continued to receive expert, uninterrupted treatment across five different hospital sites, simultaneously ensuring my team were also kept safe.

As clinical appointments were limited due to lockdown restrictions, staff shortages and shielding requirements, it was paramount to allow patients access to nursing support. In order to work effectively in different locations, raise team morale, protect vulnerable staff and still provide an acceptable level of care and access to services, I introduced novel opportunities for remote and flexible working.

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